Grant eyed for S. Colony flood control project in Meriden

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MERIDEN — City officials hope to secure a federal grant to clean up two parcels on South Colony Street as part of ongoing efforts to control flooding and revitalize downtown.

Properties at 51-53 S. Colony St. and 31-33 S. Colony St. are needed for the city’s flood control efforts and continuing the Linear Trail into downtown, officials said this week. The properties were once home to Church & Morse hardware and Meriden Auction Rooms, which have since been razed. 

They are currently vacant lots covered with concrete rubble.

Engineering firm Fuss & O’Neil estimated it will cost $800,000 to clear the parcels and remove the foundations. If the Environmental Protection Agency approves the grant application, the city will receive $400,000 and match that amount.

“This is part of a much larger project,” said Public Works Director Howard Weissberg. “Anything, that we can address with a grant we’re on it.” 

The grant application was scheduled for discussion by the City Council Finance Committee on Tuesday night and would require final approval from the full council. 

The flood control project is a collection of repairs, realignments and deepening and widening of channels in the downtown area, which has historically flooded after significant rainfall. The first and largest piece was the Meriden Green project, a $14 million effort to convert the former Hub site into a city park. Weissberg and other city officials have said the flood work at the Green and on bridges throughout the city has significantly reduced flooding, but more work remains.

The city also received a $400,000 state grant to do landscape work that will extend the Green to Cedar Street. Tall evergreens have been planted to create a buffer between the new park and apartment complexes Meriden Commons I and II.  The new park will contain a sensory garden in addition to uncovering more of Harbor Brook. 

City officials also recently received a small grant to purchase the former Castle Bank building at 100 Hanover St. to deepen and widen the channel that flows underneath.

The work on South Colony Street and at 100 Hanover St. is expected to help Hanover and Cook Avenue avoid flooding problems like those that occurred last summer, said City Councilor Michael Rohde.    

Longterm plans call for uncovering more of Harbor Brook and deepening the channel to the Amtrak bridge. The project is also tied to the city’s effort to connect its Linear Trail along Hanover Street into the Meriden Green.

“It’s going to create a green space,” Rohde said. “These projects are going to be very visible. People will see the difference.”

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz


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